Churches Observe World Day Of Prayer

Believers around the world held special prayer services Friday and issued a challenge for reconciliation.

Reconciliation is the theme for World Day of Prayer 2002.

This year's observance takes on added significance in the wake of September 11th and ongoing violence in the Middle East and other parts of the globe.

Three Coast churches joined together to lift prayers for peace and understanding.

"We are called to be ambassadors and to beseech others: Be reconciled," said a group of women who led the prayer service at First United Methodist in Gulfport.

Christians from three coast churches gathered Friday morning to share fellowship and lift the concerns of a troubled world to a higher power.

"Strengthen our love for one another. Wipe out enmity. Take away from us all inclination toward division," prayed one of the service leaders.

Finding unity through faith is among the guiding principles for the annual World Day of Prayer. A group called Church Women United helped organize similar services in 179 countries.

Jean Capps is among a group of women who organized the observance.

"And I think what it does is it puts us back to the basics. What's important to us is our relationship with God and how we go about doing that. And being sensitive to other women in the world and where they are," Capps said. "By making the sign of the cross, we join our Romanian sisters."

The annual observance lifts up a particular country each year. Romania is the focus in 2002.

Those gathered in faith say world events, especially in the wake of September 11th, emphasize the ongoing need for reconciliation between nations.

"Most definitely. More people are praying and turning to God for healing. I think it brings all of us closer to God and to our neighboring countries and their need," organizer Betty Breland said.

"We too have to be faithful, acknowledging God as the lord of the universe," prayed the leadership group.

These believers say the true path to promoting peace on earth begins by extending hands of friendship and reconciliation to one another.